MESA, Ariz. (Aug. 5, 2008 ) – Elizabeth M. Duke, Ph.D., the administrator of the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), visited A.T. Still University (ATSU) – Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) and School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA) on July 23, 2008 to learn more about the school’s unique programs where students are able to extend their education out in community health campuses.

Dr. Duke, who has been administrator of HRSA since March 6, 2002, was accompanied by Stephen Smith, senior advisor to the administrator; Rick Smith, associate administrator for clinician recruitment and service; and Tara Balsley, public affairs specialist. Tours of both schools were scheduled for Dr. Duke and her Washington team where she was able to meet with faculty members from both ASDOH and SOMA.

“I think the visit went great. Dr. Duke has played a large role in organizing health community clinics. We have many missions that overlap. She realizes that more community health centers need dental clinics. I think she left with a real sense of appreciation of a dental school that is educating students as we do,” said L. James Bell, D.D.S., vice dean of ASDOH.

The visit focused on additional topics including SOMA’s selection for student candidates, the school’s teaching approach, and the community campuses where students will continue their education. Dr. Duke hopes to visit at least one of the 11 campuses to observe the environment and learning process firsthand.

HRSA awarded a Pre-Doctoral Training in Primary Care grant to ATSU which funds SOMA $723,210 through June 30, 2011. SOMA recently submitted another application to HRSA for its Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Demonstration Program. For the period of 1985 to 2010, ATSU will have been awarded and successfully managed approximately $30 million in HRSA funds.